Our Olympic Athletes – offering hope in career transition!

Guest Post by Gary Prenevost, gprenevost@frannet.com FRANNET

Canadian athletes set a new world record for the most Gold Medals won by a host country, topping it off with the Gold in men’s hockey. This is one proud Canadian who certainly enjoyed our Olympic “cake” and then experienced the “icing on the cake”, when I stopped at Timmy’s this morning for it is day one of RRROLL UP THE RIM to WIN time and I won! ( The opportunity to play again.) Now that’s Canadian, EH!

As I enjoyed my coffee, I began to reflect on how the world’s best athletes could be the inspiration and hope for our beleaguered economy. I thought about how each athlete ventured to our host country in their quest for Olympic gold, competing, hoping and daring to believe it was theirs. I’m still recovering from the awe of what was arguably one of the 10 best, hockey games ever played, where each player demonstrated what it takes to be an Olympian with every ounce of skill and heart. We witnessed the same unwavering effort over and over again, by every athlete throughout the games even though they have no guarantee of a win.

My reflection took me to the years of preparation and sacrifice of that of an Olympian. A conscious decision to venture down the difficult path of long hours and extensive training required to be a world class athlete, knowing that for most, there will be no real gold at the end of their rainbow. In many countries, once an athlete retires, their sport’s career won’t sustain them long-term, nor does little to assist in the transition to a “normal” job or career.

I suddenly realized that the Olympic Games are a perfect microcosm of our current economic state; so many talented people competing for a limited number of employment opportunities. For some, they’re playing against a highly skilled and experienced field of competitors. For others, they possess greater skills but are up against younger talent with emerging talent. Many are lacking in experience but possess tremendous heart and are full of future promise. Some might have just won Gold (i.e. a short-term contract position) but still have to compete in other areas so they can’t rest on their laurels. Whatever the dynamics, the parallels with the current employment market are simply uncanny.

We have witnessed our Olympic athletes fuel a flame in Canadians and across the globe like never before. Hopefully we can use this flame to fan our own embers a little more brightly, because the people who are going to “win” those few coveted jobs are not necessarily the most skilled, but they will “come to the game prepared to play”, with more heart, more optimism and more belief in success than those who’ll get passed by. In order to get your next job, “go for Gold” and get out there every day and “train”! Network, hone up core skills, educate to learn new skills and open up to all possibilities including self employment. Some players will choose different “sports” to excel in but for many the competition is simply too fierce and it is a strategic move to seek a career in self employment that will leverage their talents and skills. The constant in this group of competitors is the belief in an Olympic Gold, the next successful opportunity despite the incredible adversity.

The difficulty in emerging from this crisis mode is a reality so let us draw strength from all of the Olympians, especially two of my heroes who faced incredible adversity and still achieved success; Joannie Rochette, who’s Mom suddenly passed away; our hearts and prayers are with you Joannie, and Petra Majdic, who tumbled three metres into a gully, breaking both poles, a ski tip and four ribs. Both of these athletes drew from unfathomable, internal resources to win Olympic Bronze Medals.

We may not be Olympians but we have the inspiration to draw on to dig a bit deeper and find that same “stuff” within ourselves, because we are all competitors in a game called life. Despite any adversity, there is hope and there is the opportunity for a bright future – just look at our men’s hockey team, we got to Gold but we did it the hard way, for we are Canadians!

Thank you to all of our Olympic athletes who have inspired our great nation while earning the respect of the world!  

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